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City League's Westinghouse to apply for WPIAL football membership

| Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013, 2:42 p.m.

Any move by Westinghouse football to the WPIAL remains far from a done deal, executive director Tim O'Malley said Thursday.

Still, the City League team wants to join next season.

The Pittsburgh Public Schools board approved a motion Wednesday that would permit the City League team to join the WPIAL as an associate member for the 2014-15 school year and beyond.

The WPIAL has not heard from Westinghouse, O'Malley said. Once the city school applies for inclusion, the WPIAL Board of Control would consider the request, but acceptance isn't guaranteed.

“I don't know what our board will say,” O'Malley said.

Westinghouse's application will be made official next month, said City League athletic director Mike Gavlik. Details will be finalized at the City League's Oct. 22 meeting and then submitted to the WPIAL.

For two school years, the City League has had baseball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, swimming and tennis teams compete in the WPIAL as associate members. Football and basketball were not included in that agreement.

A move to WPIAL football would let Westinghouse play schools its own size, said coach Monte Robinson, who encouraged the switch. The Homewood high school's enrollment has it in Class AA, yet the five larger City League football programs are Class AAA or AAAA.

Westinghouse likely would slip to Class A when the PIAA reconfigures classifications before next school year, Gavlik said.

“As far as I know, we're the only football team (in the state) that has to play up two classifications every year,” said Robinson, a 1995 Westinghouse graduate who played tailback for the Bulldogs. “It just makes perfect sense for us.”

The Bulldogs have around 30 players on their roster, Robinson said. It's a solid number, but not enough for Quad-A competition.

“It would give our kids an opportunity to compete week in and week out,” Robinson said. “It evens the playing field and gives us the ability to build a program.”

The team still would use Cupples Stadium as its home field.

School closures and consolidations have altered the City League's landscape. A decade ago the football league had 10 teams. If Westinghouse leaves, only Allderdice, Brashear, Carrick, Perry and USO would remain.

There are no plans for those five to follow Westinghouse.

“Nothing like that has been discussed,” Gavlik said. “I'm not sure what others' thoughts and reactions would be (to Westinghouse's departure), but I don't see a domino effect.”

Chris Harlan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at charlan@tribweb.com or via Twitter @CHarlan_Trib.

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